You know the positivity content I’m talking about, the annoying platitudes and woo-woo explanations, but sit with it for a bit, at its core it’s essential for us to deal with life. Research has shown that having a positive outlook is not just a reflection of success, but it also actively contributes to success in relationships, financial well-being, and overall health.
What positivity isn’t, is simply being happy all the time. It’s about maintaining a specific ratio of positive to negative experiences, 3 positive experiences for every 1 negative experience.
How to Make The “Positive Outlook” Thing Happen
Here’s some science-backed strategies and actions to develop and maintain positivity (how to stack up the experiences to make up your 3 positive to every 1 negative experience):
1. Acceptance: Being accepting of both positive and negative experiences. Seeing reality for what it is, instead of what it “ought to be”. Acceptance levels the playing field, flattens out the curves of emotion and from that starting point, it’s easy to move up, creating more positive feelings.
2. Focus on your Relationships: Building and maintaining good relationships with others is essential for cultivating positivity. This involves being present, supportive, trustworthy, and having fun together. As we grow older, this is crucial. So, reach out and keep those connections alive, no matter how small the effort.
3. Cultivate Kindness: Doing good for others, especially things that genuinely benefit them, can significantly boost your own positivity. Set aside one day a week for acts of kindness to keep it practical and fresh. Better yet, make it a habit.
4. Healthy Distractions: In a world that often leads to negativity through worry and overwork, healthy distractions are essential. These are activities that fully engage you without the negative side effects. Hobbies and “flow” activities are great choices to boost positivity. Go for a walk, play with your kids, just go and sit somewhere.
5. Curb Negative Thinking: Reducing negativity is just as important as increasing positivity. Identify the triggers of negativity in your life and avoid them. If you find yourself stuck in a negative thought loop, challenge those thoughts with logic and evidence – Ask yourself, “Is this really true? If this is true, what’s the worst that could happen? Is it really that bad? What’s the likelihood that will happen on a scale of 1-10?”
6. Nature: Spending time in natural environments can be a powerful positivity booster. However, most people spend an excessive amount of time indoors. Going outdoors and connecting with nature can provide a much-needed positivity boost.
7. Use Your “Signature Strengths”: Instead of solely focusing on accomplishments and outcomes, spend more time doing things you’re naturally good at. This is a proven happiness booster. If you’re unsure of your strengths, ask your friends or take a strengths test.
8. Meditation & Mindfulness: Meditation can increase positivity and teach you to let go of unhelpful thoughts. While it can be challenging at first, regular practice can lead to significant improvements in positivity. Focus on doing ONE thing at a time, and only that thing.
9. Gratitude: You’ve obviously already heard of this… it’s everywhere. Notice and appreciate the positive aspects of your life. Regularly listing three things you’re grateful for can help establish this habit.
10. Savour Everything: Take time to fully enjoy and appreciate positive moments when they happen. Feel every feeling, notice each sense, acknowledge the good times with family, friends, or even just by yourself. This practice can help counteract the tendency to take good things for granted.
11. Visualize The Future: Focus and visualise the best possible outcomes. This exercise can help you identify your goals and life mission, motivating you to pursue them.
Putting all of these together and making sure you follow-through, consider creating a collection of reminders of positive experiences, such as photos of moments that made you feel good, proud, or loved. Scroll through these photos when you need a positivity boost, and regularly refresh the collection with new experiences. The easiest thing is to create a Daily Journaling Habit… we often forget the good things that occur, the great decisions we make and the struggles we overcome.
Remember that life isn’t about eliminating all negativity but maintaining a balance of 3 to 1. Embrace the negative as a learning experience while celebrating the positive. The real trick is to notice and appreciate the good that is already present in your life.
Incorporating these strategies into your daily routine can help you maintain a healthy ratio of positivity to negativity, leading to a more fulfilling and successful life.